Keepers' Diaries, December 2009

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Voi Reintegration Unit

With the arrival of the rains the Voi area has finally begun to recover from the devastation of the drought. The Orphans have all put on weight and are eating intensely as they feast on the new greens. Since there is a lot of food available the orphans spend most of the early morning feeding and by mid morning they often change to playing games together before their noon milk feed and mudbath. Emily & Edie’s groups have remained close although are not coming to the stockades as regularly as they had in November. This is perhaps due to the availability of food and water elsewhere.

With the arrival of the rains the Voi area has finally begun to recover from the devastation of the drought. The Orphans have all put on weight and are eating intensely as they feast on the new greens. Since there is a lot of food available the orphans spend most of the early morning feeding and by mid morning they often change to playing games together before their noon milk feed and mudbath. Emily & Edie’s groups have remained close although are not coming to the stockades as regularly as they had in November. This is perhaps due to the availability of food and water elsewhere.

The new arrivals, Kenia and Shira, are dearly loved by all the orphans and have settled in very well. On several occasions Shira has enjoyed swimming in the water with Mzima. Kenia feels right at home and is thrilled to be re-united with old friends from the Nursery. At times she even takes the lead in the morning as the orphans head to Msinga Hill.

On the 3rd both Emily & Edie’s groups joined the young orphans accompanied by a wild bull. They all had a glorious time playing with the babies, Lolokwe and Sosian showed great interest in Kenia while Mweya favoured little Shira. Wasessa was on high alert making sure none of the ex orphans took Tassia from her. She has formed a strong bond with Tassia, often feeding close to him and allowing him to affectionately suck her ears.

On the 4th Edie’s group joined the youngsters at the noon mudbath. Laikipia has developed a soft spot for Siria. They spent the entire time playing strength testing games, with Laikipia allowing Siria to push him despite Siria being of no match to Laikipia who is much bigger. Elephant social behaviour can in many aspects be compared to our own, with high complexities in social bonding and formation of friendships. Lempaute was most interested in Edie’s young wild born calf, she spent the entire time gently playing with Ella under Edie’s supervision. Salama went over to play with Kenia, while Mweya played with Mzima.

On the 8th the Keepers got a call from the Manga Community Warden regarding an Eland calf that had been seen. A rescue operation was organized and the Keepers now have a new addition to the Voi Stockades. The orphan Eland bull was named Manga and takes the place of Makonge who tragically died last month from a snake bite. The orphaned Kudu’s, Mkuki, Njia, and Aruba have been seen out in the bush amongst a herd of impala looking healthy and happy.

On the 22nd Edie’s group visited the stockades at about 6am as the orphans were on their way out. Laikipia and Siria straight away engaged in a strength testing game, with Laikipia taking the time to show Siria some important tactics. The ex orphans accompanied the youngsters to Msinga Hill for the morning.

The Keeper dependent group has had a wonderful month to end the year of 2009 which posed many hardships on Kenya’s wildlife as well as the orphans. There have been many joyous occasions in the last month as the orphans celebrate the arrival of the rains and their many new found friends amongst the ex orphan herds.

December 2009 day to day

01 Dec

When the young orphans exited the stockades they headed straight for the water trough for a drink. Mzima, Siria, Tassia, and Wasessa separated from the group and headed for Msinga Hill while the rest waited for the Keepers. They then joined Wasessa’s group who were browsing nearby. Later they all had a mudbath together. Mzima & Wasessa played in the mud long after the others had had enough. The orphans spent the afternoon feeding before returning to the stockades for the night.

Mzima in a water game

Wasessa and the others enjoy a dust bath

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